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“Stunning Grounds, Excellent Staff”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts
Ranked #30 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed December 6, 2012

I just returned from a 5 day trip for a wedding at Sanctuary Cap Cana. I couldn't have been more pleased. The grounds are immaculate, the staff is impeccable. Upon our arrival, as I was checking in, they come over with a cool towel (much needed, coming from Boston in November, I wasn't exactly dressed for the Dominican heat/humidity!) and a frozen fruity drink.

I stayed in a Jr. Oceanview suite, and it was more than acceptable. Many people in our party stayed in the castle, which, wow, the rooms were amazing - but - everyone in the party were mostly around the pool, and the castle is a hike from the main pool area, so I'm glad we were where we were and closer to the main pool.

Speaking of the main pool area - Carlo, the bartender, is amazing. He's fun, he's always quick with a drink, and he was by far my favorite at the resort. It has a swim up bar that we took advantage of more than once.

Food: I'll be the first to say that I don't eat any seafood of any kind. So I can't judge that (though my friends tell me the grouper ceviche at the pool bar was outstanding). The first night there, we had dinner at The Blue Marlin. I got a skirt steak that was probably the best I've had in my life.

In the morning, breakfast is at Casa Bella. There's a wide assortment of fresh fruit, as well as bacon (weird bacon though - not smoked/cured), sausages (great) potatoes (weird) and an omelette station (excellent). When I refer to the food as odd or weird, I'm sure it isn't, I'm sure it's just the way the food is down there and I'm not used to it. Just different flavors than what I'm accustomed to.

For lunch, I normally ate at the pool bar, but the Blue Marlin was open also. I had a Caesar salad with chicken the first day and it was very good. The next day I got a cheeseburger, which was good, but tasted slightly off to me? Again, I'm sure it's my American tastebuds.

The real gem of the food is at the Steakhouse, where we had dinner every night except the first night. It's a very nice looking restaurant inside, and waiters are on hand constantly to refresh your wine glass. I had rib eye each time I went, and it was absolutely delicious.

They have awesome strolling singers every night in the restaurants. Bring some ones to tip them, they're great!

We also ordered room service a few times late at night, and everything was great.

Atmosphere: As I said, I was there for a wedding, so I had absolutely no desire to leave the resort. If you're the adventurous type, realize you DO need to leave the resort to take part in various water sport activities/shopping. The casino was closed, but I knew that ahead of time.

Nightlife is limited to The Love Bar. Which was fine, there were enough of us there to make it super fun, but it would've been dead otherwise. Except the night of another wedding - they let them bring a cake into the Love Bar and the people TRASHED the place with cake everywhere. It was awful. I felt so bad for the staff that had to deal with that.

The Ocean Bar at The Castle is something that's really a hidden jewel. The views are breathtaking, there's an infinity pool, and it's very secluded. We happened upon it quite by chance.

I've seen a few complaints about the beach on here, and I found them to be unfounded. The seaweed wasn't problematic, the beach was not at all rocky, and in fact, the sand felt like silk under your feet. I was very happy with the beach.

The gift shop is way overpriced. I paid $43 USD for 2 kids t-shirts and 1 adult t-shirt. You're kind of stuck though, if you aren't planning on leaving the resort.

A few tips:

There is no Wi-Fi in your room. There IS at all the main areas (the pool bar, the Blue Marlin, Casa Bella, the Love Bar etc...) but NOT in your room. Your room IS hardwired, though. So I picked up a ZyXEL Wireless Pocket Travel Router from Amazon for $28. I plugged it in, and had wireless in my room. It was well worth it.

Bring lots and lots of 1 dollar bills for tipping.

It didn't rain when I was there, outside of a few tiny showers, but the grounds do get slippery. It's not a bad idea to have some kind of a swim shoe.

The rooms do smell a bit musty. But even I feel petty complaining about that. I wasn't in my room that much. Housekeeping is excellent.

Not that I wanted to call anyone, but I had no cellular service there. I used Skype to communicate back home (again, the WiFi router came in handy for that).

Bring bug spray. I saw people mentioning on here a problem with mosquito's. I only got bit by a mosquito once, and never actually SAW any, but the wedding was at dusk, and my feet got chewed by what I can only assume are some kind of sand flea.

The bottom line is that I loved this resort. I would return in a second, and recommend it fully.

Room Tip: The Castle has amazing rooms, but bear in mind, the trade off of that is you're a pretty decent...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank stacebabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,535 - 3,541 of 4,997 reviews

Reviewed December 3, 2012

I stayed here for a 4 day site selection trip, whereby I'd be reviewing the hotel for what it can offer a group of guests. I stayed on a Beach One Bedroom Villa, Room 1002. Although it's a BEAUTIFUL hotel with an outstanding location, it lacks customer service. The hotel is in management transition and may be one of the main reasons the personnel is less than accommodating. Although friendly, the staff doesn't respond well to customer complaints. They are very defensive vs. trying to solve your problem - which can be anywhere from lack of hot water, dissatisfaction with room, etc. If you can look past this, the resort is a perfect place to do absolutely nothing for days ... the perfect getaway. If you're someone who likes to do alot of things while on vacation, they are all available, but from other vendors through the concierge. Five onsite restaurants offer anywhere from seafood to sandwiches in informal settings, but they are not all open at the same time. The seafood at the Blue Marlin was okay - not outstanding .... the highlight was the calamari appetizer, which I ordered twice. I liked my steak dinner in the steakhouse very much which is weird because you'd think seafood would be better given that it's readily available. Breakfast is the same daily, but offers lot of variety. The rooms are adequate, but in need of renovations. The sanctuary is a quick 15 minutes from the airport. The spa, however, is considered one of the best in the caribbean! Let's hope new management gives this property a lift!

Room Tip: Don't hesitate to ask for a better room if you're unhappy with the choice they offer you. Av...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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4  Thank NANCANVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2012

This place is amazing.. I had an awful experience in a not so great resort I came to in Punta Cana last year but my friends convinced me this would not be the case in Sanctuary and let me tell you this place did not disappoint. Amazing views and friendly staff. I even got to meet the manager of the hotel in the lobby during check in. She was a lovely person. Genuinely kind.. Normally people who run resorts tend to be a bit stand offish so I was pleasantly surprised. The food was great. No buffet style here.. Everything is a la carte. The staff was helpful and attentive even though their was a lot of events such as weddings and music concerts they never once forget about the other guests. Great place.. HIGHLY recommended.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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Thank Corelease
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2012

My husband and I truly enjoyed our time at the Sanctuary. Every staff member was courteous and pleasant. We appreciated our room upgrade too! The resort is beautiful and the food is really good. We were excited about that since a lot of all inclusive places don't always have the best food. We've already made recommendations for friends to travel here.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the swim up suites!
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jacqueline M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2012

My husband and i stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana for our Anniversary, everything was perfect, the only bad thing is restaurants, just one or two for dinner, but everything besides that was perfect, Chantal at the Concierge she was just amazing, taking care of every detail, we are planing to go back again on January we loved it!!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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1  Thank Luzart12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Hotel is well situated near to Punta Cana and good golf. All-inclusive means weakish wines and slightly diluted cocktails BUT the service is outstanding and both Brenda and Justo do a great job. Take a pocketful of single dollar bills as tipping is expected throughout the island. Shuttle service is good and food very good. Beare of conference delegates getting high on "free" drinks and creating noise around the pool areas but, in general, a good middle of the road hotel.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms in The Castle where the entrance is similar to entering a prison. Rooms have a decent vi...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank John J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2012

Being there at the end of the "low" season was a plus for us. The resort was not crowded, allowing us to feel like we had most of the place to ourselves. And what a beautiful place it is! Gorgeous views everywhere you turn. The buildings are a feast for the eyes and the grounds impeccably kept. The food was very good and the Junior Suite rather spacious. The "Punta Espada" golf course is amazing; a must for any golfer. Just driving the golf cart was a treat! We will definitely come back again.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank sunnydaymoonlitnight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts

Address: Boulevard Zona Hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic (Formerly Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol)
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#27 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#29 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $375 - $822 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts 5*
Number of rooms: 174
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Its inspired design combines the charm of a Spanish colonial village with the laid-back sensuality of the Caribbean and the stylish sophistication of streamlined, modern design accents. Bougainvillea-lined pathways lead guests through the resort grounds to 176 expansive, private suites housed in replicas of a tower, colonial buildings and fortress. Within the resort are 5 exceptional restaurants, 5 bars, an elegant casino, a half-mile private beach with sugar-white sand, and meeting space for up to 500 guests, while just minutes away lie all the world-class recreational appeals of Cap Cana. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort

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